NINC Conference – Day One (Retrospective)

[From last week’s NINC conference, written in real time and then stored to be sent out a week later.]

So I’m actually writing this blog post on my computer and storing it for delivery next week, but I wanted to keep things sharp while they were fresh.

It is Wednesday, 9/25. I’m in Florida at the Novelists, Inc. conference.

NINC is an organization for professional novelists, as the name suggests. Membership can be achieved one of two ways, reflecting the origins of the organization itself as it strives to maintain relevance in the modern era. You can either have received an advance of a certain amount of money (I think $2,000 USD from a reputable-enough publisher), or have confirmed Indie sales of at least $5,000 USD on two separate novel-length books (30,000 words or more) in a 12 month period. (Like I said, they started TradPub, about 1990, give or take, and were partly an outgrowth of romance writer organizations.)

The organization doesn’t do enough advertising about itself, as I continually run into Indies who qualify, but don’t even know they exist. If that’s you, reach out and ask questions, or hit their website here (

So I’m here for their national conference, held every year in late September at St. Pete’s Beach, on the Gulf shore of Florida not that far from Tampa/St. Petersburg. The organization has about 800-900 members, and something like 250 will attend. Over the next several days, there will be panels and break-outs with industry people and other experts. There will be lots of networking. Hopefully I will get a better idea of the shape of the publishing industry over the next 1, 2, and 5 years.

The world is changing.

Every day, some new idea takes root. Some new technology comes out that will solve some nasty pain point causing Indie authors grief. A lot of what we identify are all those things that Publishers used to do in the old days, before they got gutted by their corporate overlords and turned into shells, husks of their former selves.

As Indie’s we don’t have marketing departments to rely on to plan and execute advertising plans across various platforms and services. We may not even know how to do some of these things, but the whole process of going Indie means taking over the entire value chain (today’s useful word from un-con meetings).

We are expected to become experts on financial analysis, rights licensing, even estate planning, since our books will stay under copyright for 70 years after we’re dead. (I have a grandson who just started his freshman year in college this month. His eventual grandchildren might be earning income from my books, if I do it right.

If you are a writer, go buy Matt’s book (

I also get to be a very small shark in a room full of very big sharks. I earn a comfortable living right now, as I work out the things that might take me to the next level. For some of the people I get to hang around next to, they are trying to figure out how to sell their next 100,000 books after the ninety-day-cliff. Think of a witch’s hat or a garden gnome. That sudden spike, then it fall off. But that spite represents half a million dollars in sales, or something equally astonishing. Some of these sharks are making seven figures per year in income.

I wanna learn from them. In turn, some of what I learn needs to be shared with folks who haven’t yet gotten their careers to that point. (Not the parts that I deal in NDAs with, but that’s a small portion.)

We’ll talk marketing with some of the experts. There will be panels from David Gaughran and Mark Dawson. Some of that will be in a future blog. Meetings and chats with Draft2Digital and Findaway Voices. Reedsy is here, and we need to talk about all the things that they can do to help you find people who know things and can do things.

So, as the old saying goes: Get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on. I’m going to try to cover more than you ever wanted to know, because there is a firehose I’m trying to drink from, and you need to hear bits and pieces of it. Not all, because some of these things might actually damage your career, if you aren’t ready for them, but let’s position ourselves for that next big leap.

Assume success, plan for victory.